Sun-barded-horse (by Jenny Mellings)

Fabulous Somerset

It seems that spring 2019 and following months will be the time to finally venture further into the South Somerset landscape surrounding the house to which I moved not long ago. That I haven’t travelled within it’s borders very much so far is partly due to the narrowness of it’s rural highways, making it less accessible for a non-driver. So routes must be carefully chosen, and it is hoped that some significant happenings that occur there will find their way into a new body of work. They may be particularly noteworthy events, of encounters with nature, mysterious phenomena, or the unexpected. Memories of previous walks and rides in other places set the precedent. Such as; meeting a guiding cat whilst lost at dusk near dangerous cliffs, a fleeting glimpse of a black wild rabbit in the snow, the sound of an invisible horse’s  hooves, seeing a ‘phantom’ plane or finding a swarm of bright green Rose Chafers.

From the outset, working materials will include earth pigment (collected on walks, cycles, and perhaps even swims within the area), that will be incorporated with various media to make paintings, film and as yet unknown outcomes. At this time, as we become more conscious than ever of a need to sensitively connect with our natural surroundings, experiences whilst trailing across it will be registered, with one ‘foot’ firmly on the ground. The ‘other’ may wander through parallel realms that cause us to question our own perception, the continuing mystery of nature and existence itself. This project will include attempts to gather fairly contemporary accounts of memorable events that others have known, or heard of, on or around the topography of Somerset. In order to collect these, I’m drawing up a questionnaire that’s soon to be published. This could be an opportunity to record recent incidents as exciting perhaps as those we find in ancient legends. Contributions to this will be enthusiastically received! Depending on the quality, volume and extent of responses, a visual means of registering and recording them (but not necessarily in literal ways), may also evolve. This could take the form of a map, installation, sculpture, film or other work at some future date. An image of a horse, mysteriously clad in an outfit to protect it from the sun (a more frequent presence as it’s rays become fiercer), seems an appropriate emblem for the start of this quest to identify and record extraordinary encounters in modern times. To be continued…